Of Metal and Wishes
by Sarah Fine
When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.
-blurb from Goodreads-
I was looking for a Ghost story instead I got a beautiful retelling of Phantom of the Opera. Of Metal and Wishes is about a young girl name Wen who is trying to find her voice as she moves into womanhood. Because being an Ityanti means being respectable and pure in the eyes of men. Okay maybe that is not such an accurate description but it does play a major part in this book and one that I admit I had a problem with. But that doesn’t mean it takes away from the story. I, in my personal opinion am sick and tired of stories when the question of a woman purity comes into play. A woman’s worth should not be validated by whether she is a virgin or not.
Now back to the review.
Like I said I thought I was reading a Ghost story but it wind up being a remake of Phantom of the Opera with a little Asian flair thrown into the mixed. Sarah Fine has a beautiful writing style as she weaves this story of love, racism, bigotry and misogynistic views–all set in a slaughterhouse factory. As you read along and take the journey with Wen you can feel and taste the environment. The gritty, metallic, grimy, coppery, oppressive atmosphere. Inhaling the metal shaving with each breath you take. Experience the ever growing tension between the Noor (the “barbarians”) and the Ityanti (the “civilize”). Doing your best not to be noticed by the skeevy men as you come into womanhood because they only have one thing on their mind (yet I will wear these pretty intricate and colorful designed dresses that my mother made for most part of the book). Don’t get me wrong, Wen should have a right to wear whatever she wants but there is a reason why the women in the factory were wearing brown potato sacks for dresses. No need to be a peacock and show off your feathers.
Anyway, Of Metal and Wishes is a great book even if it does have it’s problems (like using the threat of rape more than once to move the story along as well as show how evil that person is) or how sometimes I just wish that Wen was a little bit more stronger of a character. Although, by the end of the book there seem to be some development of strength in her character.
By the way that is one thing that Sarah Fine does right; she keeps the characters to a minimum, so that she can develop them properly. Only adding side characters to move the story along. Giving each of the major characters their own personality and distinguishable voice.
So if you’re looking for a story of forbidden love, obsession and revolution all set in a grimy slaughterhouse I suggest you pick up Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine. You won’t be disappointed…..well maybe with the cliffhanger. Yes there is a second book coming out hopefully soon because that ending just had me wanting more. Team Melik!!!